Mississippi State Defeats Kentucky, 8-1

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Left fielder Jon Mungle had a career-high four hits and junior lefty Paul Maholm two-hit Kentucky over seven innings Friday night to lead No. 5 Mississippi State (24-4-1, 9-1 SEC) to an 8-1 win over Kentucky (11-18, 0-10 SEC) at Dudy Noble Field.

"We knew we had to come out here and pumped some runs on the board early and we did that," said MSU first baseman Matthew Brinson. "Paul threw his heart out for us and we got the timely hits."

Mungle's one-out triple in the third inning off UK starter Scott Wade (1-4) ignited a three-run burst by MSU. Steve Gendron followed with a single up the middle that scored Mungle, and Matthew Brinson followed with his fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot to right.

"The big home run was important because it gave Paul a cushion," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "Scott Wade was very effective the first couple of innings, then we got a hit, a hit and a hit. I have always said hitting is very contagious and you see that over and over. Sometimes a hitter gives up a hit that's a rope and the pitcher starts losing his concentration and the ball starts losing its movement."

Joseph Hunter tripled in a run during a two-run State surge in the fourth inning and doubled to open another two-run inning in the sixth, ending Wade's stint on the mound. Wade gave up seven runs on 11 hits and struck out six in 5-1/3 innings. Matt Scott replaced Wade in the sixth and held MSU to one run over the final 2-2/3 innings.

Bulldog starter Paul Maholm (5-1) two-hit the Wildcats over seven innings. But the MSU ace encountered a rare bout of control problems, walking a career-high seven batters. UK scored its lone run was unearned and scored in the fourth when Mike Breyman reached on a throwing error, advanced on a single and a sacrifice bunt and scored on Russ Rutherford's infield grounder.

"I got behind a lot tonight," said Maholm. "I walked seven guys. I guess it was just luck tonight. I got out of a lot of jams tonight. I got the ground balls when I needed them so I guess the pitches that I made were in clutch situations. A W is a W."

Saunders Ramsey replaced Maholm in the eighth and finished the game two scoreless innings of relief work.

Six Bulldogs registered multi-hit games. In addition to Mungle's four-hit performance, Matthew Maniscalco, Steve Gendron, Craig Tatum, Thomas Berkery and Joseph Hunter had two-hit outings. Maniscalco's lead-off single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games.

"The ball found some holes," said a modest Mungle about his four-hit night. "I didn't really hit the ball that hard except for a couple."

The Bulldogs and the WIldcats continue their weekend series Saturday at 2 p.m. Sophomore Alan Johnson (4-0, 1.82) will start for State and left Heath Castle (1-3, 3.20) will open for the Wildcats.

UK 000 100 000 --- 1-3-3
MSU 003 202 10X --- 8-15-1
WP - Paul Maholm (5-1). LP - Scott Wade (1-4). HR - Matthew Brinson (5). T - 2:36. ATT - 6,968 (paid), 3,392 (actual).
Paul Maholm, Saunders Ramsey (8) and Craig Tatum. Scott Wade, Matt Scott (6) and Caleb Brock.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at swindoll@genespage.com

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